Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
A few years ago, I wrote about the new year, Ford vs. Ferrari and strategic ways to improve from quarter to quarter. In the time between then and now, I wonder if the metaphor of each year being like a racetrack is completely accurate. On the one hand, each year can pose similar challenges, much like a racetrack. But on the other hand, there’s always something new to learn, re-learn or work through.
Maybe, it’s not so much a racetrack but a journey—one to unexplored places (or even familiar ones). This year, as the world moves closer to normal, we’re all traveling somewhere. The question, then, is how do we get to a place that is truly unprecedented?
Going where we’ve never been
The building industry is constantly in flux, responding to new challenges, advances in technology and striving for more sustainable practices. It’s important for every person involved to stay agile, to work towards improvement. This journey can involve developing new products that answer design questions that have been unanswerable in the past: how to design for both occupant-comfort and safety? How to plan buildings that look as good as they perform?
It can also mean improving the materials we do have—for instance, creating systems that incorporate multiple layers of protection or can be installed more efficiently.
The glazing industry is at the forefront of these questions. Our products are integral in almost every area of building design. We’ve also seen our fair share of difficulties the past few years: supply chain disruptions, increased performance requirements and so much more. But we’ve worked through them and have gotten to a point that’s new but perhaps more familiar than we’ve seen since 2020.
So what’s going to happen in 2023? Will we boldly go where no glass has gone before?
Something old, something new…
I can’t talk about journeys and glass without mentioning Grand Central Station. For 15 years, crews were busy digging under the iconic commuter hub to add more tracks and more direct routes. The eight miles of tunneling for the expansion happened in the very bedrock of the city. These new lines and spaces bring the twentieth century landmark into the modern era.
Bright and open, the underground station doesn’t look or feel like a monument bored from bedrock. It is a sleek, state-of-the-art travel hub. And it uses fire-resistive glass—four elevations of circular glass floors—to improve the station’s design and to show the true potential of architectural glazing.
To get someplace unprecedented, take an unprecedented way
For all the opportunities opening up to us in 2023, it’s important to know that the journey to better building is just that—a journey. What will yours look like this year?
Will it involve retracing the same paths you’ve known, making them better, more efficient? Or will it be forging ahead into something unknown and life-changing?
No matter the specifics of the journey, taking the process one step at a time, working hard in the moment and building on what we know, it will all take us some place new and exciting.